National Party News

National Party News

The Dems' (mis)reading of the off-year elections

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told us all we needed to know this week about the divide that threatens the Democratic Party's majorities in next year's midterm elections.

"We got walloped," said Warner, a former governor of Virginia, about Democrats losing both gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, in his home state by 17 points.


The new Republican ‘strategerie’

“OK, we’ve intimidated the moderates in the Republican Party, and that hasn’t worked out very well, so let’s try to put the squeeze on the moderate Democrats!” Can they be serious?

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other Republican operatives actually believe that they can pressure Democrats to join their “Party of No” and stop progress on healthcare, education, climate change, you name it.


Will Republicans continue to eat their young?

Are Republicans drinking the Kool-Aid again? In the late 1970s they did their best to purge their party of the Ed Brookes, Jacob Javits, Clifford Cases, Chuck Percys. Strange how some of those hard-right heirs stood around to give Brooke the highest award the Senate bestows when an extreme conservative of their ilk named Ari Nelson challenged him in his own primary back in 1978. Stranger still that many of the moderates the party now wants to exorcise were preceded by good and decent members who actually got things done in government.

“Rockefeller Republican” became a swear word to the hard-line faithful. Well, here we go again. But now even Newt Gingrich is worried — he sees where this is headed.


Are Republicans ready to lead?

From today's Washington Times:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) recently summed up his sanguine attitude when he wrote, "Republicans lost our way on fiscal responsibility when we held the majority in Congress. Since then, we have held firm to our commitment to show the American people we learned our lesson by offering better solutions to hold the line on spending, rein in red ink and get the nation's fiscal house in order."


Newt's new pickle

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), a 2012 presidential prospect, has stepped into the fray and endorsed the third-party candidate in NY-23, leaving former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) all by his lonesome in the GOP establishment. 

Doug Hoffman, who is running against Democrat Bill Owens and liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava, has now earned the endorsements of Pawlenty, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas). Scozzafava, a State Assemblywoman, supports abortion rights, card-check for unions and same-sex marriage.


Optional federalist legislation? A victory for town hallers

After discussing healthcare longer than it took the Founding Fathers to form the republic, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week sanctioned an idea that could likewise have historic consequences: optional federal legislation, a provision with details yet undisclosed that allows the states to opt out of the public plan.


Republican head and heart: Romney and Palin

Cited on a variety of Internet shops like The AtlanticWire, Newser and Lara Ebke’s Red State Eclectic yesterday was a quote from Matt Lewis, writer, blogger and commentator from Alexandria, Va. He writes in Politics Daily: “If recent elections are any guide, the Republicans' heads will tell them to choose Mitt Romney. Their hearts whisper something else. Is ‘Sarah’ the name of this siren song?”

W. McCahill at Newser says: “No matter what kind of gains Republicans make in the midterm elections next year, it’s going to be tough to unseat President Obama — and that’s why the GOP is going to choose Sarah Palin, its heart’s preferred candidate, over Mitt Romney, its head’s favorite.”


The biggest threat to the GOP

The latest poll numbers don’t tell a very good story for the Republican Party. Their national approval ratings aren’t very good (in fact they are really bad). Their congressional approval ratings aren’t much better. But those approval ratings aren’t the thing that worries me the most.

I still believe that come next year, most Americans are going to want a check on the power of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats. That should give Republicans a clear shot at taking back the House and doing much better in the Senate than most believe.


Ominous news for Democrats

In my column in The Hill newspaper today about 2010, I lay out a long series of very legitimate grievances that voters have toward institutions of power from Washington to Wall Street. With this in mind, the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has ominous news for Democrats. Despite the collapsed popularity of Republicans on virtually every major issue, the generic Democratic lead over Republicans is down to 3 percent.

This morning I have been circulating a memorandum to some very senior Democrats alongside my column, warning them, again, about the dangers they face if the political status quo continues. The text of my memo follows here, and for better or worse, you will be reading it, as they do:


Joe Wilson helps define Republican Party

By a vote of 240-179, the House of Representatives has passed a “resolution of disapproval” for Joe Wilson’s rude outburst on the floor of the House last week. Which is both good and bad.

Good because Joe Wilson deserved it. But bad because it should have been 434-1, with Wilson the only dissenting vote.

The fact that it wasn’t near-unanimous says more about the Republican Party than it does about Joe Wilson. Because, once again, Republicans have let the rudest, crudest, most unruly of their members represent their party.